Woman Stole Money From Dead Man' Wallet Seconds After His Death

A Corporate Area woman stole US$350 (approximately $61,492) from the wallet of a dead man who she was responsible for.

The woman, Dawn Hines, was hired as a caregiver for the man, but the day after he died, she slipped her fingers into his wallet and removed the cash. Hines received a suspended sentence yesterday in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court. Hines pleaded guilty to simple larceny which evoked strong words from Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque.

"Madam, you were put in a position of trust. You were placed in her [the daughter of the deceased] home to work for her and you would have had access to places in her home where other persons don't have access to. The man died the Sunday and the money was stolen on the Monday? So you were counting down the hours?" Cole-Montaque asked.

It was reported by the complainant that her father was ailing for three months and Hines was employed as a household helper to care for him since February 14. Her father died on March 20 but Hines remained employed by the family to assist with domestic chores. About 9 p.m., the complainant checked her father's wallet and found US$350 and local currency.

She then folded the money, placed it in a concealed section of the wallet and put it behind the television. The following day, Hines arrived at the complainant's home and began cleaning the father's room.

She was alone at the house between 10:20 a.m. and 4 p.m. The following day, the complainant's brother asked her for the money as only US$1 was left in the wallet. They watched footage from a closed-circuit television that was placed in the father's room and Hines was seen leaving the room with the wallet and returning minutes later.

Although the money was repaid in court yesterday, the judge ordered that an additional US$50 or the local currency equivalent should be paid accounting for the inconvenience faced by the complainant to attend court.

"The lady [complainant] probably was out there hungry, sit down and her name don't call until 20 minutes after one. Why should she just get US$350? Miss, look here, put on another US$50 on that," the judge ordered. But Hines responded that she did not have the money to pay the additional sums.

Cole-Montaque threatened to lock her up if she could not provide it. After almost an hour had elapsed, Hines' daughter, who accompanied her to court, brought an additional $10,000 to pay on her mother's behalf.

Cole-Montaque imposed the sentence of six months' imprisonment at hard labour, suspended for 18 months, and Hines was made the subject of a fingerprint order

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